Rams-Bears Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 18, 2012
Jay Cutler wasn't the only one upset with the Chicago Bears' offensive performance last Thursday, he was just the most vocal. After receiving plenty of scrutiny for his on-field outburst, Cutler and the Bears look to bounce back Sunday against the visiting St. Louis Rams, who already can match last season's win total under new coach Jeff Fisher. Chicago managed a paltry 168 yards of total offense in last Thursday's 23-10 nationally televised loss to Green Bay, with Cutler throwing four interceptions. He was under duress from the opening snap, when he was sacked for a 13-yard loss. Cutler ended up being sacked seven times - second-most in his career to the nine times he was dropped in a loss to the New York Giants on Oct. 3, 2010. ''When he's getting hit that many times, that's on the O-line, so we have to do a better job protecting Jay and giving him more time,'' right tackle Gabe Carimi said. Cutler had similar feelings, which he expressed to left tackle J'Marcus Webb with expletives and a shove caught by television cameras. He's been criticized in the media and by teammate D.J. Moore for the incident, but the quarterback, who finished 11 of 27 for 126 yards and a touchdown, said he simply wants to move on. ''It happened. It's an emotional game," Cutler said. "I put a lot into playing quarterback, and I take it seriously. It's just one of the things that happened during the game. Since then, we've talked about it, and it's really behind us.'' The Bears (1-1) have had plenty of time to prepare for a Rams team they've beaten three straight times, though coach Lovie Smith - St. Louis' defensive coordinator from 2001-03 before leaving for Chicago - said his squad is in for a tough contest. "The good part about not playing this past weekend is we had a chance to see a good football team play in the St. Louis Rams," Smith said. "There were some impressive wins over the weekend, but theirs was as impressive as any." The Rams (1-1) overcame a 15-point second-quarter deficit to defeat Washington 31-28 last Sunday, giving Fisher his first victory with the team. Fisher said he's impressed with the positive attitude of a team that finished 2-14 in 2011. ''When you're here, you expect to win,'' Fisher said. ''That's kind of the attitude that they have and that goes back to our first little scuffle in the first play of our OTA.'' Sam Bradford went 26 of 35 for 310 yards and three touchdowns, one of which went to Danny Amendola, who finished with career highs of 15 catches and 160 yards. The defense held highly touted rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III and Washington to only one score in the second half. ''It's a great feeling,'' defensive end Chris Long said. ''But that's why we put in all the hard work, to see the product of Sunday. It just makes us more hungry to come out and prepare for next week.'' Both the Bears and Rams have concerns in the running game with each of their top backs hurting from last week's injuries. Matt Forte sprained his ankle in the third quarter last Thursday and didn't return after running seven times for 31 yards and catching four passes for 49, but Smith said the injury isn't as serious as initially reported. "Matt Forte does not have a high ankle sprain," Smith said. "He has an ankle sprain. As far as when he'll be back, I don't know. "We're not ruling him out of anything just yet, but he has a long ways to go." Fisher refuted reports he benched Steven Jackson after Jackson drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for spiking the ball in the second quarter. Jackson did not play again, but Fisher said it was because the running back was injured. "His groin was tight, we didn't want to risk further injury. He could've come back in the game," Fisher said. "He understands. This is a long season. If he goes back in the game at that point, he might have had a (more serious) issue." Jackson rushed for 112 yards and Forte finished with 91 in Chicago's 17-9 victory over St. Louis in the most recent meeting Dec. 6, 2009.
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